Throughout 2010 our dedicated team of reviewers have delivered the key verdicts first on the very best albums and gigs of the year.

So settle down and compare your annual favourites with our top team’s top choices from the last 12 months.



1 Sting In The TailThe Scorpions

Talk about going out with a bang or in the case of Germany’s greatest rock band, one almighty sting. If you thought Unbreakable and then Humanity Hour One represented spectacular returns to form, this is even better. The title track is one of the heaviest, catchiest tunes they’ve ever written and in terms of both power and melody, it has several rivals on this red hot release.

2 Black CountyBlack Country Communion

3 R&Fn’RSlash and Friends

4 The SuburbsArcade Fire

5 Save Me, San FranciscoTrain

6 Emotion and Commotion Jeff Beck

7 Black RockJoe Bonamassa

8 La NoiseNeil Young

9 Come Around SundownKings Of Leon

10 American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem


1 Bad CompanyNewcastle Arena

Anyone who had caught Paul Rodgers either with Queen or with his solo band knew the Teesside vocalist holds a note as well today as he did during his heyday with Free and Bad Company. Watching him play alongside Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke again respresented a glorious trip back in time. With a setlist to die for, this was a concert which more than matched the heady expectations of a sell out audience.

2 Joe BonamassaNewcastle City Hall

3 Mark KnopflerNewcastle Arena

4 NazarethNewcastle O2 Academy

5 Australian Pink FloydNewcastle Arena



1 This Is War Deluxe Edition30 Seconds To Mars

Okay so it’s a bit of a cheat and a technicality. However the re-packaged This Is War gives the only legal way to listen to Jared Leto and co do their thing in BBC’s Live Lounge. Two covers of two songs that are anything but rock shouldn’t work but the moody and atmospheric sound that pours from your speakers deserves my highest accolade. Especially combined with the brilliance of the original tracks, that is still to be beaten this year by any mainstream rock band. The bonus DVD shows exactly why this is no ordinary band, but a self proclaimed ‘cult’ with numerous talents.

2 Infinite ArmsBand Of Horses

3 Danger Days – My Chemical Romance

4 Dirt – Kids In Glass Houses

5 Something For The Rest Of Us – Goo Goo Dolls

6 The Betrayed – Lostprophets

7 Iron Man 2 – AC/DC

8 Invented – Jimmy Eat World

9 R&Fn’R – Slash

10 Black Rock – Joe Bonamassa


1. AC/DCDonington Park

On a warm summer’s eve the rock gods smiled down on a muddy midlands field, as one of the greatest acts ever to grace the Earth delivered. From the moment they brought their own stage it was going to be something special and boy was it! As the sun set Brian Johnson’s growls echoed to the thousands in attendance. A stunning set was matched by a quite breathtaking 10 minute plus guitar solo by Angus. To this day the sound and sight of every Download attendee screaming Thunderstruck reverberates through the memory. Not just one of the concerts of the year but of Donington’s steeped history.

Steel Panther Donington Park

EuropeNewcastle O2 Academy

Paramore Newcastle Metro Radio Arena

Halestorm – Donington Park



1 Marrow Of The SpiritAgalloch

Beautifully dark, incredibly ambitious and utterly captivating, Agalloch’s Marrow Of The Spirit is beyond anything I’ve heard this year. Find a solitary moment and you’ll begin to feel the tenure of its roots slowly sinking deeper with every listen. Eventually you’re fully submerged in it’s sorrow and passion, and afterwards, left with the knowledge that this album is genius.

2 Escailles De LuneAlcest

3 Axioma Ethica OdiniEnslaved

4 The Mercian SphereWinterfylleth

5 The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOROrphaned Land

6 Love Is GoneDommin

7 NifelvindFinntroll

At The Edge Of TimeBlind Guardian

9 AQUAAngra

10 Rise Of The Heraldic BeastsJaldaboath


1 RammsteinBirmingham LG Arena

Their sublime pyrotechnical display isn’t the only reason that Rammstein are the kings of the stage for 2010. Dynamically shifting their themes in coherence with the visual assault, they make their theatre of flames all the more powerful with a stunning spectacle of aggression, agony, love and debauchery. An unbelievable live band.

2 MarionetteNewcastle Hyem

3 HawkwindNewcastle O2 Academy

4 AlexisonfireNewcastle O2 Academy

5 CombichristNewcastle Legends



1 Raising The Stakes New Generation Superstars

Raising The Stakes is an album packed full of loud guitars and sleazy lyrics, it has an attitude that tempt you with rebellion, danger and over indulgence. It’s the perfect soundtrack to the best party you’ve ever been to, but one that you will never remember.

2 Fluke? Voodoo Six

3 The Latest Cheap Trick

4 Sonic BoomKiss

5 Shake The Faith Falling Red

6 R&Fn’RSlash

7 s/t Stone Temple Pilots

8 InfestationRatt

9 I Liked It Better When You Had A HeartButch Walker

10 Wrong Side Of The HeadSupercharger


1 KISSSECC Glasgow

From the minute KISS came over the drum riser, belting out ‘Modern Day Delilah’, my heart was pounding. From God Of Thunder Gene’s blood spitting bass solo, to Paul’s flight into the audience during I Was Made For Loving You, I was in rapture from beginning to end. Simply spectacular.

2 New Genration SuperstarsNewcastle Head Of Steam

3 Cheap Trick –  ABC Glasgow

4 Falling RedThe Brickyard Carlisle

5 Butch Walker Manchester Day and Night Cafe



1 Dystopia LaneBlowsight

Number one for a reason, it comes with a promise that these guys will be the Next Best Thing to erupt out of Sweden.  Complete with crunchy riffs, chugging basslines and sing-along hooks which balance alongside dance-floor hits and clear vocals.  Breaching all genres it provides a versatile, multi-faceted soundtrack to the year.

2 NightmareAvenged Sevenfold

3 The Trouble with AngelsFilter

4 Time to Burn Taking Dawn

5 Women & Children Last Murderdolls

6 American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem

7 The Betrayed Lostprophets

8 A Promise To Burn Framing Hanley

9 I liked It Better When You Had No Heart Butch Walker

10 Highball Roller Sorry & The Sinatras


1 Avenged SevenfoldLondon Hammersmith Apollo

Accompanied by mighty Mike Portnoy, their first UK gigs without him gave a fitting tribute to the loss of drummer The Rev. Superb high-energy show full of duelling guitars, storming guitar-work, killer vocals, and the best pyrotechnics seen this year.  An outstanding performance worthy of dreams and not Nightmares.

2 Blowsight & Sonic Syndicate – Newcastle 02 Academy

3 Bowling for Soup, A, Forever the Sickest Kids, Dollyrots – Newcastle O2 Academy

4 Butch Walker – London Islington Academy

5 Sorry & the Sinatras – Newcastle Legends